Wildfire’s Ransom on JOBS Act and Facebook IPO

Victoria Ransom must feel like she’s part of an exclusive club. As CEO and co-founder of social media marketing startup Wildfire Interactive, Ransom has raised some $14 million in funding, including from Facebook’s fbFund and 500 Startups, among others.

Then in early April, there was Ransom, standing in the White House Rose Garden, witnessing President Obama signing the JOBS Act.

Ransom was one of two founders from Bay Area companies invited to the ceremony. The other was Lynn Jurich of Sunrun. Ransom says that the legislation is particularly relevant for her since she is a public-market candidate.

Ransom says that her Redwood City, Calif.-based company has grown from a handful of employees in 2010 to more than 330, with over 13,000 paying brand customers. The company also recently brought on a veteran software marketing exec whose career includes key roles at SAP, Siebel and Oracle to lead the company’s continued push into the enterprise.

I caught up with Ransom to get her take on the JOBS Act and the Facebook IPO. Below is an excerpt. VCJ subscribers can read the full Q&A here.

Q: I saw that you were one of two Silicon Valley startups at the White House to witness the JOBS Act signing ceremony. How did that come about?

A: The administration was interested in having a few startups represented at the signing who have contributed to building the economy and creating jobs. Wildfire was part of a small group of startups considered for this, and we were thrilled to be selected.

Q: What do you think of the legislation?

A: It’s great for Silicon Valley and for the economy. The JOBS Act will make it much easier and less expensive for companies like Wildfire to go public, which in turn will fuel more aggressive growth and job creation. Prior to the JOBS Act, going public was a complicated and expensive process, and this deterred many companies, particularly smaller companies worth less than $1 billion.

And certainly, the increase in liquidity could also make it easier for startups to raise capital.

Q: What’s next for Wildfire on the funding front?

A: We’ve raised $14 million, but we’re not currently looking to raise more. We continue to make efficient use of the capital we have. Our success and traction in this fast-growing social media market provides ample opportunity for us to invest more in the business, to grow our market share, and to enhance our market positioning.

Q: With the growth of smartphones and tablets, are you noticing that more social media campaigns are starting to pay off in the mobile market?

A: At Facebook, for example, their mobile strategy is core to their monetization strategy. The promise of mobile is finally hitting, now that we have solid solutions from Facebook for deploying mobile pages, applications and ads. It’s a big deal that brands can now engage with the nearly 40% of Facebook users who access Facebook from a mobile device.

We recently launched our own mobile-optimized page templates and engagement apps, and they’ve been in high-demand, so it’s clear that brands see the same opportunity on mobile platforms we do. And where brands see opportunity, the money will surely follow.

Q: Facebook plans to go public soon.  What do you think of that?

A: It’s the most exciting IPO since Google. Perhaps more exciting. It is going to be hugely successful and rightly so. Facebook is a company that has grown to unprecedented levels, and it has so many opportunities to monetize the base of users it has built.

I also expect Facebook’s IPO to be a catalyst for even more hiring, funding and acquisition activity in Silicon Valley and the tech industry.

Q: So you’re expecting a Facebook effect that will impact you and other startups raising capital?

A: Yes. The wake of activity following other recent IPOs—like LinkedIn, Zynga and Groupon—will pale in comparison to the ecosystem changes we’re going to see from Facebook’s IPO. Expect more competition among tech giants, including Facebook, to attract and hold on to top talent, and expect small startups to get acquired to fill those talent voids.

The increased acquisition activity will, in turn, trigger the flow of more investment dollars to other tech startups. And Facebook’s newly minted millionaires, with their own angel investing aspirations, are likely to be drawn into the burgeoning startup, investment, acquisition wheel as well.

Photo U.S. President Barack Obama signing the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, April 5, 2012 by Jason Reed/Reuters.

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